Imagine… Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

Programme Length: 105 mins

Broadcaster: BBC 2

Broadcast Date: TBC

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imagine… presents Look at the Pictures, an unflinching and uncompromising portrait of one of the 20th century’s most controversial photographers: Robert Mapplethorpe, directed by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey. His images elevated photography to fine art and pushed social boundaries to create a body of work which includes frank depictions of nudity, sexuality and fetishism and still lives and flowers, but not without controversy. His iconic and unmistakable photographs of 1970’s New York’s underground gay scene were frank and unmediated depictions of a lifestyle at the time deplored by many Americans. In 1989, on the floor of Congress, Senator Jesse Helms implored America to “Look at the pictures,” while denouncing Mapplethorpe’s art. Since his death in 1989 from AIDS, Mapplethorpe’s work has remained as provocative as ever. Look at the Pictures delves deeply into Mapplethorpe’s life and work to reveal the man and images which ignited a culture war that rages to this day.